In college football, we often see far more creativity than we do at the professional level. Part of that is simply due to the sheer number of teams in the college ranks versus the number in the NFL. Because teams must often choose players that aren't top ranked prospects, offenses and defenses have to be tailored to each team's needs.
Still, every now and then, an innovation will make its way from the college game into the pro game. This often happens when a coach moves from college to the NFL, as is the case in Philadelphia with Chip Kelly, but sometimes its a veteran NFL coach trying to capitalize on a perceived strength. That seems to be the case in Kansas City.
With reports that the Chiefs are running some pistol plays here and there, it seems that an NFL team may finally be taking a serious look at the pistol offense, and running back Jamaal Charles is excited about that prospect.
"I ran it my rookie year, and I love it. Everything about this offense," Charles said on the NFL Network Thursday. "I ain’t never been around no offense that’s about to be explosive and about to put me in space and making me make plays. I’m glad to be in the pistol. I’m glad I see Frank Gore had success with the 49ers. If he can have success, I hope I can have success as well."
Unlike shotgun formations, the pistol offense allows teams to continue running dives, sweeps and pitches as they would from a normal singleback or I-formation while also keeping giving the quarterback a better look at the defense because he's not under center. Handoffs in shotgun formations are generally more limited because the running back lines up either left or right of the quarterback instead of directly behind him.
The NFL is a copycat league, and if offenses like those being formed in Philadelphia and Kansas City experience some success, expect quick adoption from other struggling teams around the league.